10,000 Microsoft workers laid off globally; job cuts in ethics & society team  

The layoffs have left Microsoft without a dedicated team to ensure that its AI principles are being followed, which could pose risks as the company continues to expand its AI offerings. 

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As part of a recent global layoff impacting 10,000 workers, Microsoft has reportedly let go of its entire ‘ethics and society’ team within the AI organisation. The move, according to the Platformer, means that Microsoft no longer has a specialised team responsible to make sure that the company’s AI principles are closely integrated with product design. 

Even as Microsoft is planning to actively expand its in-house generative AI and Bing AI, the company cuts down its workforce. 

With creating rules and principles for the company’s AI initiatives Microsoft  is keeping up  “active Office of Responsible AI” tasks. Some former employees have noted that the ethics and society team played a critical role in ensuring that Microsoft products reflect the company’s principles. The team also reportedly developed a role-playing game called Judgement Day to help designers and team members learn about the potential harm that products can do.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is aggressively expanding its Bing AI across products, including its proprietary Prometheus search engine, which is now integrated into the Windows 11 taskbar. Microsoft is also partnering with OpenAI, the creator of the ChatGPT chatbot, to unveil the GPT-4 language module, which will be the successor to the GPT-3 module that powers ChatGPT.  

As AI continues to evolve, it will be important for tech companies like Microsoft to prioritise ethics and social responsibility to ensure that their products are not causing harm to individuals or society as a whole.

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